30 de Junio, 2008
UMX: Stronger Than Aryan Pride
WHAT HAPPENS when the Aryan finally meets the Unapologetic Mexican?
That's my Mexico shirt in the reflection, or one of them. The red one. The white of his bandanna is not a sign that he belongs to the Latin Kings. It means something else here in the Pacific Northwest.
The moment! The symbols! It's almost like a storybook.
You see, I was shooting some fotos over at the Olympic Trials here in Eugene, Oregon. At one point, I was capturing some waterfall sculpture...working out a slow shutter speed so I could blur the water, and trying to compensate properly so that I didn't lose all the highlights in the brighest areas nor the details in the darker areas of the foto and someone comes up behind me and starts talking to me about my tattoos. I didn't pay much attention, I normally am sort of in my own world when I go out to shoot fotos, and "nice ink" is something that someone can say and keep walking. And I'd sort of expect them to.
But he didn't, of course.
By now, I know his non-public-interview thoughts. As I said, they are on MySpace. Here's a sample from a man who claims alliance or at the very least, support of The Aryan Brotherhood and the "Struggle" of the Skinheads:
POWER ASSERTION (the ways in which people assert power, dominance, compete or "make someone their "bitch"")
African & African American: (physical agression such as contact sports, street fights or a drive by)
White/European (contests of daring & courage such as drag racing, extreme sports & hunting. Water sports & outdoor sports very common as mellow recreation)
Asian/Asian American (contest of wits, such as trickery, con games or "putting one over" on someone else)
Latin American/Meditterainian (popularity contests such as being a "smooth operator", the "latin lover" and low riders.)
SOCIAL ORIENTATION: Meaning what the main focus of one's social universe is or what we're conditioned to view as the center of our social universe.
Black/African American: Immediate Family such as "make the old man or Mom proud"
White/European: The Individual "its your life and no one else's, live it for you!"
Asian; The Community/Society At Large "no man/woman is an island, the more you give for others the more you'll get from them" more co-operative than competitive.
Latin American/Meditterainian: The extended family, mobsters, mexican "clannishness" etc...
He did claim up front they were generalizations; only what he experienced. This is his honest views.
Now, I have to tell you. My normal set of reactions would be different in this public situation I describe, were it to unfold without me in my photographer mode.
As it went down, I was facing away from him and shooting and basically letting him talk about tattoos and I was going "oh yeah?" and such while looking through viewfinder at the water. I was waiting for his voice to fade away, under the rushing stream of water, which was far more pleasing to me. I was not stopping or slowing down, he was only a momentary distraction. I hadn't seen him yet.
And then, there was a point where what he was saying broke through to me. Your ear actually stiffens, you feel that helium prickle run along your scalp, the hair on your neck begins immediately waking up.
In the safety and darkness of my viewfinder I blinked and thought Is this cat actually talking to me about White Power?????
All at once I feel a distant roomful of electricity buckle into being; a tiny brass siren screams mutely in a black velvet room reserved for one.
I turned right around then and took my camera down and listened to what he was saying for a moment.
At this point, I think it would have been cooler to go along and encourage him and see how far he'd go with his crazy philosophy. But that's not how I work when running on instinct. That's a cool, scaled, strategic and sly part of my mind. But on instinct, I am like that cobra. And the hood comes out and the back rises up. There is no laying low. Just a hiss like a hot wind on stone. Just a barely perceptible sway, like grass shadow bending away from the sun's hands.
Well, that's a bit romantic. I wasn't doing anything like that. Instead, I was hammering at him with questions. I was listening to what he had to say and then finding areas of his logic or reasoning that I wanted to pry apart and force him to explain.
Fortunately, as I do think of myself as a collector (of sounds, images, moments), I try to leave the house with as much recording gear as possible. In addition to my still camera, I had my sound recorder on my belt, but because I was trying to pack light (hot, hot day), I didn't bring my handheld shotgun mic. Which means I had to hand-hold my recorder instead of pointing a mic...which means I accidentally paused it while holding it. So I missed 90% of our talk. Which is a real drag, because there were some very funny moments. Like when I asked him what "White People" as a specific group have to be proud of.
You could hear the water from the fountain splashing and people around us for almost a minute before he mumbled something about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. And Picasso! That is, Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso!
I didn't go into the problems that arise from having Aryans claim a spic as a basis for their pride. But I did ask him if part of his "New White Pride" (which was, of course about Love and Brotherhood, as well as "Thor's Hammer") was battling White Supremacy. He didn't really have a good answer for that one.
But by the end of the talk, I realized he was not too different than Prince Rudy. One on one? Face to face? Not really scary. Not really sure of what he believes in. At least not enough to explain it. Or not really brave enough to confront you with it, even when you are five inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter. (That stuff on his MySpace? Not the Stuff of his speech to me.)
Just wanting to believe in something. Wanting to be proud of what he is. Not understanding the pride and solidarity that comes to the Brown™ is necessitated by Pride like his. Not really understanding how socialized his mind has become, now defaulting to the hypnotist's will. Not understanding that "White People" don't exist ever quite as solidly, sadly, as when a fearful or hateful group is needed to be named. (We don't hear about them in the news; there, they are just "people." We don't hear about them setting records; we hear about nations and ethnicities winning gold or silver or bronze. We don't hear about them from "White people" because "white" people don't like to bring up "white people." We only hear about them as connected to a "race" of the census groups—who will WIN???—or when connected to White Power or White Pride.)
In the end, I backed off because I had him on the verbal ropes for five minutes or so and he was mainly stammering and then I was interrupting and asking him another question he wasn't sure how to answer. Amazingly, my empathy began to win over after the joy of exposing the façade wore off. I even suspected, due to his lack of coherent argument, that his tag of "AUTISTIC ARYAN BROTHERHOOD SKINHEAD" was more convincing on the "autistic" part than the "aryan."
And mostly, I sensed he wasn't out to hurt me, finally. And wasn't really even impressive. Just lost and looking for something to belong to, looking for platforms on which to spread his personal experience. Of "Autism." Of "Aryan Nation." Of "Skinhead." Of "Europeanness." In need of education.
I blame it on the USA's TV-dinner-brain fake-gold-song philosophy. This culture, as prescribed, hollows out your history and true history and the truth of interconnectedness and symbiosis—and replaces with faux heirarchy, class war, superiority complexes, nationalism, sexism, and racism. The USA's culture, taken as prescribed, denies/negates/erodes our spiritual center and replaces it with consumerism and dependence and fear. It is one big lie that makes the mind crazy and turns other people into strange alien creatures who are just like you or nothing like you at all.
Today's youth—and all humans—are currently untapped reservoirs of power and heart. Someone like Obama comes along and speaks to that and you see what this nation could be if there were some truth and heart here, some lessons worth ingesting, some pride worth having. (I wonder if the currently electrified youth will soon find that the New Boss may not be quite so different as the Old Boss, but time will tell.) Someone comes along with an in-depth philosophy and set of tenets, and it won't be too hard for them to recruit members like this young man with the Nordic scratch tats.
We teach torture, lies, war, greed, superficiality, authoritarianism, fear of Other, models of Scarcity and Imperialist patriarchal paternalistic dominance. We ought not be surprised by the rise of gangs and hate groups and violence. It really is the American Way.
The fotos and sound that I do have may be my next MTV vlog, but I'm not sure, as I don't have releases signed. So it might just be my next YouTube vid instead. Watch this page.